A Quick Guide Preparing For a Panel Interview

If there is more stress than the job interview, it is a panel interview. Because of this, it has earned the grim nickname called “ interview by firing squad”.

Well to tackle the panel interview, you need to be completely prepared and for that, you need to understand some basic things. 

Many industries conduct panel interviews, where there are two to eight or even more interviewers. 

There is no doubt that it’s a nerve-racking experience, however, to make sure you are all set, here is what can help in preparing yourself for a panel interview. 

What To Know About Panel Interviews? 

Well before anything, you need to understand what a panel interview is,  it’s a  job interview that is conducted by two or more interviews. It’s done at the same time, and such panels include different people from different posts and levels. 

It can include your hiring manager, future supervisor, HR manager, Potential peer, and department heads with whom you might work if you get hired. 

All areas of the company work together to find the best candidate that can be suitable for the job. 

Here are some points that you might know about how panel interview works :

  • Everyone in the room has their say when it comes to who is going to hire for the company.
  • However, only the hiring manager is one typically who leads the panel interview. 
  • They ask some interview questions which are preset and also lead the discussion
  • Other panelists have likely the predetermined questions too, along with that the follow-up questions can be asked.
  • Such interviews usually last between 45 – and 90 minutes, so it takes a lot of stamina. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using Panel Interviews?

Organizations conduct the panel interview for different reasons, it includes saving time and as for candidates, you get much better experience in understanding how the company works, including the culture, and see if you are fit for it or not. 

Apart from this, here are some of the common benefits that organizations get from conducting the panel interviews : 

benefits using panel interviews

It Helps In Saving Time 

This is one of the most practical reasons why the companies conduct the panel interview, it helps in saving a lot of time. 

Also hiring managers are required to have multiple interviews in a day and at the end of the day, the panel chooses the candidate. 

But with the panel interview practicality, the interview and candidate boh get the best out of it. instead of coming multiple times and doing the meeting one on one with different members, you get the chance to get it over with one session. 

Its Consensus 

When you have all the people who are going to be the decision-makers in the same room, it can help in risking the hire which is bad.

Each panelist has their own perspective and is satisfied if someone sparks the follow-up question in another.

Well, the panel interviews allow the respective from relevant elements of the company to know what to say and what the ideal candidate looks like. 

Along with that, the panel interviews allow both parties to know if you are a good fit or not. 

Test The Teamwork Of The Candidate 

During the panel interview, the candidates are required to engage with the personalities on various terms and have different levels of expertise. 

Interviewers want to see if the candidate is capable of addressing HR rep questions and answering the queries to lead the potential team. 

Seeing how the interactions are going on and if the candidate is perfect or not, this can help in finding the collaborative effort.

Challenges The Candidates

Even though it seems to mean, for a significant reason, the organization conducts such a nerve to apply the pressure to the maximum on the candidate. 

After all, the candidate knows how they are dealing with the stressful moments and the panelist knows those situations. 

Why Do Companies Use The Panel Interview?

Well, the main reason behind why companies use the panel interview is that it allows them to have various representatives for the hiring organization, business as well as the agencies. 

It also gives them time before they make the hiring decisions. 

With this, it saves time and the company can do more interviews instead of coordinating its serial different meetings one on one. 

What Do Panel Interviewers Look For?

Different companies tend to prefer different panel interviews due to several reasons. 

For example, the University Of Delaware offers an explanation of what such employers look for, they say, the panel interviewer wants to learn about their candidate, and it includes : 

  • The candidate’s reaction to the stress, when the panel interviews the questioning.
  • Their interactions with the members of the panel.
  • Their style of communication with different people on their position within the organization.
  • Their flexibility in communication.
  • Candidate’s ability to build their rapport.

Apart from that, the panelist looks for the same thing that they would do in one to one interview, including the basics :

  • Seeing if the candidate can do the job, that’s why you should focus on experience and training
  • They are a good fit for the role and organization, so it’s important to focus on the work style and personality fit.
  • See if there are any smart risks, where they focus on red flags and risk factors. 

What Industries And Positions Do The Panel Interviews Use? 

In some sectors and industries, panel interviews are the way to vet their candidates. 

So finding the panel interview is common in such fields and positions, though it’s possible to find it in some other positions and employment sections too.

It includes : 

  • A large organization which are nonprofit
  • Academic institutions
  • Senior executive positions in many industries
  • Government organizations and agencies related to that 

What Are The Common Formats Of Panel Interviews?

Panel interview formats can differ differently spending on the industries and the specific job functions, and according to what, you need to perform. 

To understand, here are some of the examples which showcase the wide variety of the panel interview formats and expectations. 

Academic Panel Interviews 

The first format you should be knowing the academic panel interviews,  here are two different institution examples with their ways of doing the interview 

MiraCosta College 

As part of their screening and the interview process to choose as instructors at miracosta college. The candidate is required to perform the teaching demonstrations along with written exercises. 

Also, these tests and exercises have been reviewed by the panel. Depending on the interviewer,  you might be asked to present the demonstrations and written assignments. 

Since it’s a possibility, it’s important that you are prepared and polished before you go for it. 

Northwestern University: Feinberg School Of Medicine 

The next is Feinberg School, where they conduct their individual and panel interviews. 

Where the unusual interview lasts around an hour or less, it includes the questions regarding what motivation and interest the candidate has for studying in medicine. 

It’s an opportunity for discussing and adding updates to the application. 

The panel interview is an interaction as it includes two faculty members and a fourth-year medical student in their panel.

This interview is blind and the interviewers do not review the application of the candidate beforehand. 

Here the interviewers are required to consider a few basic things about the candidates, it includes : 

  • Maturity
  • Empathy
  • Motivation
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Cooperativeness
  • Critical thinking 
  • Knowledge 
  • Oral expression 
  • Professional 
  • Attention to others 

A panel is also a group that includes the other candidates, is the part of their evolution where they decide how you interact and react with other candidates. 

Corporate Panel Interview 

The next one is a corporate panel interview which is quite different and an important format that you should be familiar with. 

Global Insurance Firm 

A few years back, the panel interview became the need when it came to looking for high-level positions at global insurance firms. 

Corporate human resources give the prodigal which follows : 

  • The candidate receives a list of questions that they need to answer. The questions are about themselves, and they get 15 minutes to present in front of the panel.
  • Well next is in advance they get the case study, they have to present in front of the panel, it includes 4 to 5 panelists and the given time is 20 minutes.
  • The third is they get the three scenarios from which they need to choose one to prepare, an elevator speech, and a time limit of 3 – 5 minutes. 

As for the panel interviewers, they get the evaluation sheet divided into three sections and rate the key requirement of the role. 

Panelists also rank the candidates and first look for the top two consensuses.

Caesars Entertainment 

When the candidate does the interview for the cashier for Caesars Entertainment, the process might be extensive. 

The beauty of the format is they combine group interviews, panel interviews, and skill components. 

So during the group, the candidate is asked a group of questions by the recruiters based on their personality. Here the goal is to get to know about them as to whether they are good for the position or not like a cage cashier. 

Since the cage cashier position is considered the number inside the job,  the skill section is designed to understand if the candidate has the abyss skills in math that are needed to do the job. 

Once it’s over, the candidate reaches the panel interview.  Here, the candidate is questioned along with others who are interested in the position. 

This time, the interview panel includes two interviewers. 

During this portion, the interviewer doesn’t ask much of an answer, but they see the attitude that you are showing. 

Chicago Office Technology Group 

The hiring process for the Chicago Office Technology Group is quite unique. 

Here the candidate is required to take two different pre-employment or personality tests prior to their initial interview. 

Once the testing is done, then the candidate goes out with sales reps to the field to get an honest preview of what they have to do in their job.

During this, they do a one-to-one interview with their manager. 

Then, they have the panel interview where the candidate is required to ‘ sell’ themselves by showing what they can bring to the company. 

Government Panel Interview 

Interviews regarding the position at government institutions and agencies also do the panel interview, to understand their format, here are the examples to know : 

A Large Government Related Agency 

The general overview you get of the large government related agency and their panel interview, it follows : 

  • The candidate is required to fill out the application which is detailed and includes essay questions detailing their experiences.
  • If the candidate is in the final, they have a panel interview which includes 4 to 6 individuals. The panel includes the hiring manager, resignation from HR, and additional individuals who have expertise in the job and duties. 
  • The panel interview is generally conducted via phone, and in fact, the people are from different cities.
  • The interview is focused on the questions which are behavior and competency-based. The description includes the comments that they are looking for. 
  • The length of such interviews is about 40 minutes.
  • Once the interview is done, the panelists complete their scoring sheet and rate the company of each candidate. 
  • When the review is done,  the discussion requires choosing the top of the candidates and making the final decisions. 

Medical Panel Interview 

The format of the medicine panel interview can be understood with these examples : 

Mayo Clinic 

Interviews at Mayo Clinic Have twofold purposes, they seek to give an opportunity for learning about the position but also to assess whether they are going to be a good fit. 

The panel interview is common, during such interviews, they ask behavior-based questions and the SHARE model prefers to respond. 

To understand what the SHARE model is, here is what to know : 

  • S – interviewer asks the candidate to describe a situation and be particular. 
  • H- interviewers want the candidate to identify the challenges and hindrances they might encounter.
  • A- next is to explain the actions.
  • R – then, how it is going to be examined for getting the results
  • E- evaluating the lesson which is learned. 

How To Do The Preparation Before The Panel Interview?

When you are preparing for the interview, you need to follow all the basic steps that you need to take for any job interview. 

However, it is helpful to get a general sense of what you might be expecting when you go for the panel interview and how you can adjust the style. 

So here are some of the basic preparation you need to do before you go for the panel interview : 

preparation before panel interview

Research The Company You Are Going For 

The basic step is to do the research on the company you are going for the interview. 

There are different ways by which you can get information and insight. It can be their online website, google searches, and blogs. 

Social media is also helpful to understand the trend and what’s currently going on in the company. 

Analyze The Job Description 

The more information you get, the better preparation you have for your panel interview. So start with the job description. 

You will get a lot of information about what the interviewer is looking for, it’s an important aspect when you are going for a panel interviewer. 

Anticipate Questions You Might Be Asked 

Understanding which question you might need to answer can help in doing better brainstorming. However you might not know the exact questions, but there are some patterns every interview has. Panel interviews also have such questions. 

Prepare The Behavioral Stories 

During panel interviews, you need to prepare the behavior stories as there will be questions based on your behavior, past experiences, etc. 

So the more ready you are, the better answer you can give. 

Develop a Meaningful Questions List 

Another important aspect you need to be ready for is to have questions for the interviewers. you need to have a set of questions that can be about your job, role, and about the company. 

Do More Practice 

Panel interviews can be nerve-racking, and stressful, handling so many interviewers and answering their questions, you need to have practice.

You can do the mock interview at home, and ask your family members and families. This atleast gives you some kind of experience. 

To make sure you perform your best, here are some of the tips food preparing for the panel interview : 

  • During the making arrangements, you should ask who is going to be in the panel along with their titles. It can help as you can do research about them using Linkedin and google. 
  • Bring extra copies of your resume and make sure to give each or every panel interview.
  • Look for ways that can help you in connecting with each member and find common ground.
  • Practice the way you communicate, and understand dealing with the group dynamic.
  • Also, making eye contact with every panel interviewer, it displays confidence and smiles.
  • Prepare to answer the questions, and understand what question you might be answering. 

What To Do During The Panel Interview? 

Once you are done with the preparation for your panel interview, you need to be ready for what you should be doing during the panel interview. 

Here are some of the ways that you can prepare during the panel interview is going on : 

prepare during panel interview

Read The Room And People 

The interviewer panel includes different people in different roles, this is important that you know how to read the room and react that way. 

Don’t be funny when the interviewees are asking serious questions and don’t get too serious either. 

Engage WIth Each And Every Panel Interview 

The next thing you should be doing is to hear yourself how you are going to engage with every panel interviewer, with this you know they are engaged in the conversation and left out.

To prepare for this, you need to know about who is in the panel interview and that’s where the before interview operation is going to help. 

Make Sure You Are Making Eye Contact 

When you are doing the interview, make sure you are looking at everyone when you answer instead of one person who asked you the question. 

You can also calibrate the response to the reaction of the group. 

Sometimes, some will respond positively and sometimes they don’t. 

Don’t Get Rattled 

When you are not getting the responses in your favor , it’s important that you are not getting rattled. 

It will show your professionalism and how you are not able to handle the pressure. 

Here you need to work to win over every panel interviewer and try as best you can do to get in your favor. 

Focus On the Conversational Feel 

Well, it’s not essential for the interview to be successful, but it can be a sign that your interview is going in the right direction. 

Also if it’s going the right way, it will sound like a conversation instead of an interrogation. 

When you are breaking from making the back and forth volley question and response. It’s a sign that you are actually connecting with the interviewer. 

In a panel interview, it can be hard to get out of such a pattern. 

Show, You Are Listening 

The best way that you can do it is to mention the name of the person, forex maple “ As Maria mentioned “, add the name, and then continue the point and add your idea as well as insight.

It shows that you were listening and also helps in making the interview much more conversational. 

Be Patient With Your Time 

Some panels are calibrated machines with each person responsible for asking some kind of question. 

However, it is possible that you might wind up with a panel that has a small question. It’s important that you are not getting snippy and frustrated. 

Simply state the same answer using the different phrasing, and also you can use this to add much more detail and insight. 

How To Handle When Panel Interview Is Remote? 

Well, due to the pandemic, there are more virtual panel interviews going on. 

However not just because of that, but the virtual interview stored in the year of 2020. 

Amazon-like tech giants invest in digital portals for facilitating their remote interviewing. You can consider this as a sign that there will be more virtual interviews in the upcoming year. 

However, how are you going to handle it when the panel remote is going remote?  Well, you might  feel nervous and anxious, here are some of the advice that you need to prepare : 

Find Out The Technology 

There are different technologies and platforms offering the virtual interview, such as your interviewer or Hr to tell you which one they are going to use. 

You can get the app and software, and practice how it works so you can be more comfortable. 

Do The Practice First 

You need to be familiar, this starts with doing the practice and avoiding any tech issues. you need to find out how it works and everything else in order to boost your chances to get selected. 

Keep Your Attention On Visuals 

Your focus should also include visually your look, it includes your background, and also what you are wearing. Make sure you look presentable and understand what goes well with a virtual interview. 

What To Do After The Panel Interview? 

Not just starting is important, but how you are going to end will leave a long-lasting impression. Also, it increases the chances of how you are going to be selected or not. 

After your panel interview ends, you need to do basic things, well it’s time to say thank you,  or you can email a group thank you note to everyone who was in the panel for their time and attention. 

You can send it individually, but if you don’t have the contact information, you can send it in a group too. 

You can also write a strong thank you, it can help in showing your appreciation and also you can mention a few things that you want to elaborate on from the interview,  this helps in remembering you in case they have forgotten. 

List Of Mistakes You Should Avoid For Panel Interview

Even though you are completely prepared and set for the panel interview, there are some mistakes that you might end up making. 

Panel interviews can be challenging especially for those who never had encountered them before. 

It creates pressure and anxiety as you have to handle more than three interviewers and their questions. 

However to understand what mistakes mostly happen and how you should avoid them, here is the list for you : 

things do during panel interview

Addressing The Senior Person Only 

The crucial mistake you can make is to address those who are in higher posts only.  Everyone in the panel has the right to vote on if you are going to join the company or not. 

So it’s important that you focus on everyone and give them equal attention. 

You can look in their eyes when responding and give them feedback. 

Forget Names And Roles Of Interviewers

Before the interview, you should get some time invested in learning the name and responsibilities of every person who is going to be in the interview room.

This is also the part of your interview prep process to do the research and get familiar with everyone. 

The mistake you can make is messing up with their name and role. It can damage your reputation and also affect your chances of getting hired. 

Getting Frustrated And Giving Up 

Well, there is no doubt that panel interviews are hard, especially when you haven’t been to a single one before. 

But it should not be your excuse to feel frustrated and lose your cool. 

The point of conducting the panel interview is to also check if the candidate can tolerate the pressure and how they react to it. 

Showing yourself fluttering and giving up can decrease the chances, also you are giving the wrong impression. 

You need to take deep breaths and let your mind calm down, so you are in the right mind to give answers. 

Getting Defensive

There are some situations during the interview when the candidate ends up getting defensive about what the interview said to them. 

It can be the gap in your resume, recent unemployment, or termination action. 

Well, you need to be better in handling such situations, as getting defensive shows you are not capable enough to control your emotions. 

Also, you show you can’t expect your mistakes and actions. 

However, to handle this, you need to bite your tongue and make sure to use the preparation. 

Ignoring The Body Language 

According to experts, you need to stand up straight, smile, and look at the face of the person. But, you have to show that you are not just showing interest but actually interested. 

Also, be concerned about what you are doing, and your body language. 

The worst mistake you can make is ignoring your body language.  Your language and words should match with what your body is showing too. 

Being Rush 

Since there are more people, you might feel nervous and it’s totally normal. 

The mistake you can make is to feel like you have to rush everything as well as what you’re saying.

When you do this, not only do your words get jumbled up but you lose the train of thought and end up saying things you shouldn’t or forget the main point. 

That’s why you need to calm down and slow yourself.  

Forgetting The Balance Between Listening And Talking 

Don’t feel too worried about what is going to be the next question when you are listening to the interviewer. 

As you might not pay attention and end up missing important points. be sure you are taking as much information as you are sharing with the interviewer. 

It’s important to remember that you are also there to know about the company like they are there to know if your company is the right fit or not. 

Having No Key Questions

Another mistake that people make is not having the key question.  you need to have something to ask, and it should be something that actually holds value. 

You need to learn about what the company is offering to you, and what professional growth and opportunities you might get. 

Having No Contact Informations

When the interview ends, you need to send a thank-you note along with an acknowledgment to each person who interviewed you. 

However, the mistake you can make is to leave the room without getting the contact information of the interviewers. 

So you need to make sure that you ask them to share their business cards, also try to get notes or two as you speak with different members so you know which detail should be added to the thank you email. 

Making No Eye Contacts 

The next biggest mistake that you could make is to not make eye contact. 

It shows you are not confident, also you need to make eye contact with more than one person in the panel. 

So don’t just make eye contact with those who are asking you questions, but also with those who are sitting there, it will make them feel involved and help in creating engagement. 

Having One Copy Of Resume 

Regardless of which type of interview you go to, it’s important to have more than one copy of the resume. 

However in the panel interview, you need to have more rescue, so you can handle each one to every interviewer. 

They should have your resume in front of them, so they know what they can ask and everything you need to know about them. 

Not having more copies of your resume can be a great mistake as it shows you are not completely prepared and organized for the interview. 

Distracted And Not Into The Moment 

Since there are more than two people in the room, it gets easier to feel distracted. 

However, the biggest mistake you might make is to feel distracted while you are in the room. 

There might be some unfamiliar actions and behaviors from the panel interviews. it’s best to compose and keep your mind at the moment. 

Not Managing Stress Well 

It’s important that you understand how to manage stress. One of the mistakes that candidates make is not knowing how to learn and how to manage stress. 

It’s one of the things that you will feel when you have a panel interview. It’s important as the format of such interviews is to put maximum pressure on the candidate to see how they would react. 

One of the ways that you can help in managing the stress, it helps you in staying much more level-headed and ready for the interview. 

You can also learn the deep breathing exercise so you manage the pressure well. 

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